Sometimes you need a bit of a break from writing about the earnest indie-rockers or pouty pop wannabes that clutter my inbox looking for one more piece of publicity before their quest for global domination ends in the reality of a job on local radio or opening the new Aldi in town. Sometimes you need something more honest, something that exists for all the right reasons. Three Cane Whale exists for all the right reasons. I’m sure as musicians they are driven to compose and perform as much as the next but when your sound is one of quiet reflection, of classical finesse, folky frivolity and the vibe of a soundtrack to a film made by Chaucer had he forgone the job of legitimising Middle English vernacular and invented cinema instead, integrity looms large.
Although a live album, in keeping with the world they inhabit, only a wave of polite applause at the appropriate juncture indicates this is anything other than a studio recording thanks, in no small part, to the trio’s ability to recreate their sound flawlessly. The spoken word pieces set to minimal accompaniment remind us of the purpose of early music, if it wasn’t devotional in nature then it was to drive a narrative, the tales and news of the day and hearing Jon Hamp’s delivery it is difficult not to picture a captivated audience in long forgotten inn or travellers sharing stories around a campfire.
This is music as a primal whisper, a not often heard sound which is usually lost, drowned out by the noise and ambition of this fast-paced world. As I said before, when trying to find the words to adequately describe their album Palimpsest, their music talks in an ancient language, one that the head may sometimes struggle with but the heart and soul is fluent in.
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